Thursday, June 18, 2009

Border Collie Rescue Video

This is an excellent video production about the work of Border Collie Rescue (BCR). "Nice Work" is about the fostering and placement of rescued Border Collies. Mostly why they end up in rescue, and the attention to detail spent on the care and re-homing of each individual dog.

While this video is focused on a rescue located in the United Kingdom, it is important to note that all border collie rescues worldwide are facing the same challenges with fostering and re homing this wonderful breed.

(Copied & Pasted from the YouTube Video information) Episode 1 introduces Border Collies and tells us a bit about the breed, and about Border Collie Rescue and the York centre. We meet 'Dot' and 'Gael' at the beginning of Gael's sheepdog training and take a look at 'Patti' in her new home. This mini series is being released at the same time as Border Collie Rescue is being featured on Project Puppy on Animal Planet.If you are not an Animal Planet subscriber, you can follow Gaels progress on Nice Work, either on BCR's YouTube Channel or on The Border Collie Rescue website at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Success Story: Willow & Tyler

I adopted Willow when I knew my old search dog Valorie (Age 13-1/2) was showing major signs of needing to retire. Arthritis, blindness, hard of hearing etc. Willow was about a year old when I adopted her from PNW Border Collie Rescue. I started working Willow along side Valorie on our searches almost immediately.

Willow's energy level helped alot. She could handle the rigorous searches in the deep snow in the mountains, the rough hot terrain we faced in the jungles and desert searches. She loves the water and has also made a great water Search and Rescue (SAR) dog as well.

Willow's training consisted of dog obedience, agility, gun training (as we carry side arms), object identification for forensic scent evidence searches (guns, knifes, blood, body fluids, keys, wallets, clothing, body tissue, hair fibers, teeth etc.). As an air scenting dog she does great.

Her best attribute is her gentleness and her determination to work. She tracked a missing dog from NW Seattle 12 miles to Edmonds where we found the dog alive. The dog had been missing for two weeks.

She has documented finding 4 dead humans in water drownings, one suicide victim, and today she located what we believe is a female victim which had been buried in a murder case for over 41 years. We're waiting for detectives to dig up the site.

She's traveled to 20 states and two countries to do her SAR work. Willow has documented 1702 search cases with 404 documented finds of missing persons and lost pets.

When SAR Dog Valorie died, Willow became very depressed. Her play and work buddy was gone. Val died in my arms at age 15 from a stroke on Jan. 9 , 09.

In her lifetime Val documented over 5,800 search and rescue calls around the world to include Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, both of the Turkey earthquakes in 1999, along with finding hundreds of missing persons and lost pets all around the world. Val was rescued from Corvallis border collie rescue in 1994.

I adopted Mr Tyler from PNW Border Collie Rescue in February 2009. What a character and CHALLENGE is he! First he had absolutely NO confidence in himself. He was scared of his shadow, and attached himself to my side from day one. Willow and Tyler love each other to death. They play day and night when they are both not working or training.

To date, Mr Tyler has documented 279 search cases with 61 documented finds of missing persons and lost pets.

Tyler got to ride in a kayak for the first time two weeks ago and he wears his life vest and loves the water now. Can't keep him out of it. He also has grown to be a emotionally secure dog. Someone reached into the truck the other day and Tyler nearly took his arm off. Warning him first to back off or else.

He has one trait that is different from all the other search dogs I've trained. Tyler like Valorie will actually talk to me. He carries on a conversation. I'll ask him a question and he'll talk up a storm. If I sing (I can't sing) Tyler will step in and help me out.

When we find the people dead I often do the death notifications and both Willow and Tyler have helped me out greatly with the grieving families. They hold Willow and Tyler and cry and get their comfort from both of the dogs.

These guys are wonderful. They have helped me deal with losing Valorie (My partner of 15 years and my girlfriend of 3 years left my side because of my work) So these two little partners have been a saving grace so to speak. They are quite the comics but when needed are both huge HERO's in my work, my life and the lives they've been able to save since they started their work.

Harry Oakes SAR Dog Coordinator
International K-9 Search and Rescue Services.

CLICK HERE To view a video interview with Harry and his dogs Willow and Tyler

Monday, June 15, 2009

Success Story: Emma Rose

When my husband and I lost one of our beloved dogs to cancer after 10 years, our black Lab, Bear, was inconsolable. We considered getting another dog to keep him company but our hearts were not ready. However, we were at our wits end trying to deal with Bear’s anxiety. Then one day I saw an ad on Craigslist. It was a desperate plea for foster homes for PNW Border Collie Rescue. My husband and I decided to give it a try. We could help a dog in need and possibly help Bear at the same time.

We answered the ad and Jill came to our home to interview us and check the security of our property fencing, etc. Within a few days she had a dog in need and asked to bring him out over the weekend. It was all set, but mysteriously the dog went lame the day before our appointment and had to be put on kennel rest. At the same time Jill got a frantic call from a woman wanting to surrender her dog to the rescue. That dog was Emma Rose (formerly known as Taz).

We got off to a rocky start. Emma snarled at Bear and tried to bite my husband. She came from a “nice” family with several young children and one other dog. But she had spent most of her 18 month life on a chain in the yard. After a couple of weeks we were hoping she would be adopted soon. I even called Jill to ask if she had any prospects.

Then a funny thing happened. Jill called and said she had a family that would like to come out and meet Emma. Initially we were excited and thought that was great news. But when the reality hit us it was a completely different story. Just the thought of Emma leaving with someone else was more than either of us could bear. That’s when we knew our hearts were ready, and somehow we would make this little girl a part of our family.

Since that day Emma has become the center of the household. Bear adores her and is very protective of her. She sleeps between us every night in a king size bed and we are completely “besotted” by this little lady.

Emma Rose has her own blog on the internet, (Emma Rose) where she shares all of her comings and goings, and she is pretty much spoiled rotten (within reason, of course).

At 3 years old Emma is still a work in progress. She is not perfect, but she is “perfectly Emma”. And we are not perfect, but she loves us in spite of that.

The wonderful woman, Jill, from PNW BC rescue, retired shortly after we adopted Emma. I never got to tell her how much of a blessing Emma has been on our lives and how grateful we are to her and the rescue for making it all happen.

-The Kirkpatricks

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Success Story: Tru

March 2008 - When I saw this adorable face on PNW BC Rescue, it was LOVE at first sight!

Already having 3 bc/aussies, I really didn't need another...but there was just something that HIT ME about this one.

I contacted Anne at Border Creek Rescue to inquire.

"Yes, I'll be at the Albany agility show this weekend" I said. Oh! so will she and she'll bring this little slightly shy guy with her for a meet & greet.

It took all of about 2 minutes for me to know, THIS WAS MY NEXT DOG! But, just to be sure, Anne agreed to let him spend the night, as it was very important to me that my #1 once in a lifetime dog, Mick, get along with him.

Let's see...Mick sleeps next to me on my right, and has for 7 years...and guess who cuddled up, laying all the way down on my left side ALL NIGHT?

I whispered into his ear. "You're TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!" and that's his name now...Tru.

Who knew that little 9 month old pup would blossom into THIS handsome DOG just 1 year later. Tru is now my 'grow old with me dog', my NEW agility partner, and the most wonderful addition to my life since Mick.

I LOVE this boy through and through...and he is...TOO GOOD TO BE TRU.

So, when you decide to look at a rescue, look past the's the gooey inside that really counts!

Liz, Coos Bay, Oregon

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hi everyone! It works - I just had to try it out. I will post something later - gotta go to work

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Success Story - Beth

Beth came to PNW Border Collie Rescue through Joan at Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group (IDAWG). Beth failed to make the cut as a drug detection dog and they surrendered her into border collie rescue.

Beth's Original Listing on PNW Border Collie Rescue Site

Joan arranged for Beth's transportation from Idaho to the Washington Coast where she was fostered by Vivian in Greys Harbor County. There Beth started her journey into a new life. Beth showed behavior both in her foster home and adoptive home suggesting she had been harshly treated and abused (not by the drug detection trainers). But we fell in love with her. That dainty little nose and great big eyes & overly large ears melted our hearts.

We soon learned that Beth was your typical somewhat neurotic, high energy, fiercely independent & slightly insane Border Collie. Since we had experience with Border Collies we knew what we were getting into...but Beth topped out the energy scale!

It was obvious Beth needed a job to do. We enrolled her in obedience, then agility foundation training. While obedience and agility were fun for us, it was clear Beth was not enjoying it. She was nervous and jumpy. Her desire to please combined with fear of correction made her a bundle of nerves in each class. Our agility instructor suggested we try her on sheep. That next weekend we made an appointment at Fido's Farm in Olympia, WA for a herding instinct evaluation.

Video of Beth's first official herding lesson

There is absolutely nothing like watching your timid and shy little dog morph into a bold and happy dog confidently handling sheep. It was simply amazing and at the same time humbling.

Shortly after our first lesson the instructor said "You got lucky with that one, she is a remarkable little girl". That was the beginning of our sheepherding obsession.

To see this small little dog's light bulb of instinct turn on makes you realize what these dogs were bred to do. The generations of careful breeding reflected in your dog's eyes as they circle behind their sheep. To know that the one who needs the training isn't the dog as much as it is you...their handler.

The herding instinct is actually a 'controlled prey drive' carefully bred into the dog. Not every border collie has the right balance - but Beth did and we couldn't waste it. Knowing how to handle their drive and teach your dog how to herd sheep in a steady, controlled manner is not as easy as it sounds. It involves walking backwards for miles, falling down alot (sometimes into very icky droppings), hours of work in the rain, sleet and hot sun, frustration...yet unmentionable joy when all the planets align and finally you click with your dog in a symbiotic relationship as old as the hills.

Adopting Beth brought our family into a new hobby and inspired us to adopt more border collies. Now we have four amazing Border Collies all from PNW Border Collie Rescue. Each one has brought us immeasurable joy and love - and a fantastic new hobby that we can share together as a family.

I saw a car magnet the other day. It was a dog paw print and said "Who Rescued Who?"

I had to think about that for a while...I think we were rescued by a Border Collie.

Thank you to PNW Border Collie Rescue for enabling us to embark on a new journey and direction in our lives.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I just wanted to thank you for starting this blog. I think it will be a fun place to tell rescue stories, updates on rescue dogs, etc. This is my 'test' blog entry.